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ASK THE HANDYMAN / JOHN MORELL

A Clean Start to Lighten Up Panels

September 18, 1993|John Morell

Question: I have dark-stained wood paneling in my family room, and I'd like to paint the room white. I've been told that a dark stain will eventually show through a light paint. How can I make it work?

J.M.

Fountain Valley

Answer: "You should start out by giving the paneling a good washing with a TSP or other detergent solution, then rinse it off well and let it dry," says Harold Brobst of Hal's Paint & Decorating in Fullerton. "You want to remove any leftover wax that's been used on it. After that you can use a quick-dry alkyd primer on the paneling. This is effective in sealing out stains and colors and providing a good surface on which to paint. With a good primer, you can probably get away with applying just one coat. After the primer has dried completely, you can use whatever paint you want, and there shouldn't be a bleed-through problem."

Q: Our lower patio door track is becoming corroded. It's made of aluminum, and the problem looks like there might be a reaction between the track and the cement that contacts it. How can this be corrected?

S.M.

Tustin

A: "Since the track can't be repaired, you'll have to get a new one," says door and window installer Keith Monarez of Anaheim. "In that kind of situation, we often use a clear sealer on the cement or stucco before installing the tracks. This prevents any chemical corrosion from damaging them. However, if the corrosion is appearing only where the door slides, your problem might be just bad rollers. Sticking rollers will just wear down a track over time, whether it's a sliding screen or glass door. Replace your rollers about every two years, and you could save yourself the time and money of replacing a track."

Q: My 10-year-old dishwasher has a terrible sour odor. A plumber told me that since the smell isn't coming from the vent on the sink, it must be coming from inside the machine. It works perfectly otherwise; what can I do?

D.C.

Garden Grove

A: "Food particles can get inside the dishwasher's plumbing and rot, which is probably where the smell is coming from," says Joel Gwartz of B.J. Discount Plumbing in Garden Grove. "You can try running it empty a few times with just detergent and some lemon juice. Otherwise, you'll have to live with it until it fades away. Make sure your dishes are clean of food before they go into the dishwasher in order to keep the drain free and prevent it from happening again."

Q: We have dry-rot damage around the eaves of our garage. Is it necessary to replace them, or can they be repaired and then repainted?

C.D.

Garden Grove

A: "It depends on the damage, but in most cases you do need to replace the wood," says carpenter Larry Higgens of Costa Mesa. "If it's a small, isolated area it can be fixed. Remove the old paint, then scrape out the damaged wood. Use a filler such as Fix-All, sand it down and repaint. In most cases, though, you should pull the bad wood out. When it's in the eaves, it's not that hard to repair; you won't have to remove many shingles from the roof, and you'll just cut out what you don't want and insert a new piece the same size."

Q: I'd really like to get white carpeting in my living room, but everyone tells me I'll always be paranoid about spots and stains. What can I do to prevent stains and not go crazy over them?

N.N.

Laguna Niguel

A: "The key is to get a good quality carpet," says fabric and carpet cleaner Chuck Bernard of Huntington Beach. "A cheaply made carpet won't resist stains like a good one. Also, have a spray bottle of water and clean cloth ready at all times. As soon as you see a stain, try to pick it up. I think with any carpet, you have to be resigned that you will have some staining over time; that can't be helped. Just remember that the key to stain removal is to attack the stain early."

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